Today’s Reading - Genesis 3-4
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” - Genesis 3:8-12
Sunday night I preached in Fayette at a revival service. There could be a legitimate argument made that I was long-winded. Like most everyone else, and most likely especially preachers, we are skilled at rationalizing behavior. Instead of being long-winded, I would rather believe I was Spirit-winded. See what I just did. I just rationalized what is perceived as a negative, long-winded, as being spiritual. Thus making it perfectly fine. We are all experts at invoking the spiritual into any situation. Note: my long sermon worked out great as we experienced a powerful move of God Sunday night! It didn’t work out so great with Adam. He tried to rationalize fear with nakedness then tried to rationalize eating fruit from the forbidden tree with Eve’s blessing to eat the fruit. My rationalization of preaching a long sermon doesn’t have the nearly the same consequences as rationalizing behavior as a direct result of sin. People are good at both. Because we are good at rationalizing. This story is full of trying to downplay the nature and severity of sin. Later on in chapter four we see the same thing unfold in the story of Cain and Abel. God had warned Cain that sin was waiting on him before he killed his brother Abel. Cain proceeded to make an attempt at justifying his action when God had said just do what is right and not be angry. When we try to rationalize wrong thoughts or behavior and especially when either is wrong because it is contrary to righteous living or directly related to sin, then we are no different than Adam or Cain and we must deal with the broken heart of God. I’m not sure I completely understand the concept of God’s punishment or discipline in our present life, but I know it exists. It is a consistent theme that runs through the entire Bible, not just the Old Testament. Adam teaches us that our rationalization will be found out. Don’t be guilty. Don’t rationalize behavior to cover up sin. It will not turn out the way you hope. Ever.
Heavenly Father, convict us if we are deceived into sinful behavior and then further try to rationalize our behavior by twisting the truth of your Word. Let our hearts desire to do the right and godly things so that rationalizing will not be necessary. Forgive us when we deceive ourselves into believing You will not know we have sinned and justified in our mind that all is well. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.